ABOVE PHOTO: The Johnson-Henry family move into their new home on Latona Street in the Point Breeze section of South Philly.
Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia welcomed the Johnson-Henry family to their new home on Latona Street in the Point Breeze section of South Philadelphia. They were joined by the house sponsor, Merck, the Asthma and Allergy Association and the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD). Carter Oosterhouse, of HGTV, presented the keys to the new homeowners.
This journey was especially important for Anna’s daughter, Tatiana, 18, who has physical limitations and cognitive impairment, and asthma. The home offers a first-floor bedroom, bathroom and hardwood flooring to make the home accessible for Tatiana’s wheelchair. This is a significant improvement from the family’s current one-bedroom walk-up apartment. Tatiana will also benefit from the home’s asthma-friendly design features and ventilation systems.
Frank Monaghan, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, said, “At Habitat for Humanity, we believe everyone deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home. All of our homeowners have very powerful stories and big dreams, but for Anna and Tatiana this house not only represents homeownership, but it will also dramatically improve the quality of their lives. This home is affordable and livable – and to see this project completed is gratifying beyond words! With an accessible entrance, first-floor bedroom and bathroom, Tatiana will experience a new freedom in her life! We’re grateful to all of the partners on this project including Merck and OHCD. We thank our volunteers. And we welcome the Johnson-Henry family home.”
This house is one of four in Habitat’s Latona Street development and is the result of a public-private partnership. Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia received partial funding through OHCD, as well as support through corporate, foundation and individual supporters.
PHOTO: Carter Oosterhouse from HGTV presented the keys to the homeowners.
Deborah McColloch, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development, said, “This house not only improves the quality of life for the Johnson-Henry family, but also strengthens the neighborhood around them. Its affordable price, quality and accessible design and energy-efficient features are commendable. Habitat for Humanity serves as a model organization and builder. Congratulations.”
The Johnson-Henry family contributed over 350 hours of sweat-equity as a prerequisite to purchasing the home. Anna Johnson said, “This has been a long road, and I can’t wait to put the keys in the front door! In our current apartment, I’ve had to carry Tatiana up and down the stairs to bed and the bathroom and in and out the front door. She’s so excited for her first-floor bedroom and bathroom – and not to have to worry about her asthma! We can’t wait to be home.”
Construction began on this accessible and energy-efficient home in April, 2011, and was made possible by the enthusiasm and hard work of Merck volunteers. Merck’s Build Smart, Breathe Easier asthma educational program made them a perfect partner for this home.
Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia transforms lives and neighborhoods all over the city by building quality homes in partnership with families in need and by uniting all Philadelphians around the cause of affordable housing. Partner families are required to participate in building their houses and others in order to qualify for the no-interest mortgage provided by Habitat. The organization is also committed to building green, energy-efficient homes to ensure healthy indoor air quality, generate low utility costs and reduce the homes’ drain on the local power grid.
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